5 PR Lessons from the Trump Campaign


Wendy Alpine Discusses 5 PR Lessons from the Trump CampaignBy Wendy Alpine, President, Alpine Communications

Whether you love him or hate him, what Donald Trump’s campaign has accomplished so far into this election is astounding. He’s used every speaking engagement and media opportunity to his advantage, building masses of followers and constantly being the center of attention. “The Donald” has used his brand and platform to garner more media attention than most other candidates combined. While most companies can’t come close to what Trump has accomplished in earned media, it’s worth taking a look at his technique and what lessons can be learned:

  1. Simplicity is Key: Trump’s message has been consistent and simple. He simply states what he wants to say and doesn’t usually confuse his followers with lengthy jargon. From his slogan “Make America Great Again” to his strongly worded tweets, Trump’s message has not changed, and your company’s shouldn’t either.
  2. Know your Audience: Another key component of Donald Trump’s campaign is his attention to his audience. He knows whom he is speaking to, and what they want to hear.  Similarly, your company should address your target audience, and create content to attract their interest.
  3. Controversy Grabs Attention: The main reason Donald Trump is always in the news, is due to his controversial statements. Every time he makes an off- color comment, every major news outlet picks up the clip, resulting in hours and hours of free press, and outreach to millions of potential voters. But most companies try to avoid controversy, so how else can they attract attention? Do something that creates a splash or use the element of surprise.
  4. Free Media Prevails Over Paid Media: Because of Trumps’ strategic media plan, he does not have to exhaust the same press budget as other candidates. He has reportedly received nearly $2 billion in free press, and through February was the eighth highest spender among candidates on advertising. When possible, conserve funds and let the media do the work for you. If you’re not sure how to do that, consider hiring a PR firm to help you determine what’s newsworthy and connect you with the right media.
  5. Stand Out from the Crowd: Regardless of your political affiliation, it is clear that Donald Trump has managed to stand out from the crowd and get people talking about him. He is his own brand, and is running his campaign unlike any candidate before. How can your company separate itself from its competitors? If you’re not sure, talk to trusted customers, or have your PR firm conduct customer case studies. Figuring out what makes you stand out and telling your customers about it will help you garner more attention and lead to more sales.

 About the Author: Wendy Alpine is president of Alpine Communications, a leading PR firm in Atlanta, with a specialty in healthcare and technology. Reach her at wendy@alpinepr.com, or visit www.alpinepr.com



  1. Paul Ferrante on at 11:05 AM

    I think another component his PR team created has been fear within the messaging. It ties along with your simplicity point, but many of his messages are targeting this “scary America” if Hillary Clinton wins. He invoking this sense of fear within the audience and he is becoming this “Superman” of sorts to protect America from the rapists, terrorists, criminals, and corrupted politicians. With Pence being his running mate, he adds to the heroic save America feel for conservatives. If possible, I was wondering what your thoughts are about this?

  2. Liz Raphael Helgesen on at 3:08 PM

    Great article, Wendy!!!

  3. Dave on at 4:21 PM

    Trump is a walking PR nightmare. He isn’t paying attention to any of the things you’ve listed. He’s done well in-spite-of sound PR techniques, not because-of. If he starts becoming overly-concerned with PR (and being politically correct), he will loose his base. The dichotomy is that people are fed-up and don’t care. But the apathy runs both ways. Trump can trip over his tongue all day, and he will be excused by right-leaners because it’s ‘anything but’ another Democrat or politically-correct establishmentarian. Same with Hillary – She can lie through her teeth until the cows come home; and no-one on the left is gonna care — Anything but a ‘racist’ conservative. So Trump is turning traditional PR on its ear. The real hurdle is gonna be electoral votes. He may need to clean-up his act for those folks.

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